Working from home sounds ideal to most people, but without some proper planning, it can lead to back and neck pain, headaches, and other discomforts. Although being paid while working from your couch in your pajamas may seem like a great idea, it is best to have a safe and proper workspace in order to avoid injury.
So how do you create a workspace that offers the comforts of home while still keeping you safe? These tips will help you get there.
Designate a Work Area
You will need a space in your home where you can set up your work materials and computer that is safe and distraction-free. If you have a spare bedroom or office in your home, this will offer a permanent and private space for your setup. However, even if you don’t have a dedicated room from which to work, you can still create a safe place within a shared room.
Choose appropriate home office furniture for your selected area. Make sure your furniture will fit into the area by taking measurements of the space and comparing them to the dimensions of items you are considering.
You should also test out the lighting in the room or area you plan to use. Ensure that there is enough light to work without being distracting. Also, make sure you have the ability to place computer screens where they won’t catch a glare from a window.
Eliminate Ergonomic Hazards
Working from home poses some major risks to your musculoskeletal system. Everything from the height of your chair to the angle of your computer screen can affect your back, neck, wrists, and knees. Setting up an ergonomic workspace will help prevent many of these potential injuries from occurring.
Set your chair’s height so that your knees are level with your hips. If you have a tall desk that requires your chair to be higher, be sure to invest in a footrest to keep your feet flat and knees level without having to lower your chair too far.
Your wrists should be straight when typing and your hands should be at about elbow level. If you have adjustable armrests on your chair, you should be able to adjust them to accommodate this.
Set up your monitor at eye level about an arm’s length from your body. If you are tall, you may need to adjust the height of your monitor or place it on a stand to get it in the correct position.
Stretch, Stretch, Stretch
Although it may seem like a great idea, sitting in one spot all day can take quite a toll on your body. If you are working for a long period of time, you need to be sure to take many short breaks to stretch out your body. At least once every hour, you should take the time to do some seated stretching of your neck, back, shoulders, and arms.
A few times a day you should take longer breaks to get up out of your chair and move around. Do some standing stretches using your chair or desk. You can stretch your hamstrings by placing one foot on the seat of your chair and bending forward to touch your toe. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds on each side. Work your calves by leaning against a wall, placing one foot behind the other, and slowly leaning forward.
Don’t ruin the benefits of working from home by making them into a literal pain in your neck. The right location, furniture, and activity will allow you to work safely and without injury from your favorite place: home.